My new favorite subject
Public School 805
By Clever Girl 01/02/2014
Public School 805
120 Promenade Way
So I went back to school last night after many years of being absent, which is ridiculous because I always thought school was a complete waste of time! But this was not your typical school, it was a whole new class of … well, class. One with food and alcohol being served, which if you ask me, are the type of subjects I really want to learn.
I took my friend Triple D to Public School 805 in Thousand Oaks to see what all the fuss was about, since this place is packed every night; and what we discovered was that if they had had this kind of class when we went to school, I’d have been in class more often. Mainly because nutrition would be put above other subjects I always hated, like spelling and math. Who the hell needs to learn crap like that when instead, you can learn that jidori chicken isn’t the name of someone’s pet, but rather, a brand of delicious chicken that gets cooked and eaten?
Public School 805 is part of the growing trend of gastropubs that are popping up in the area, where handcrafted beer and classic American dishes share the same homeroom. Of course it has a large selection of craft beers, but since I already drank more than my share of beer in high school, I decided to pass on that and focus on what was more important: the food.
The menu has a fantastic selection of dishes that beg to be shared, which is what we decided to do since there were a few things that stood out. We started off our culinary curriculum with an order of crispy albacore belly tacos, which were the highlight of the evening. Instead of tortillas, the shells are lightly fried, crispy won ton wrappers to hold the delicious filling of seared albacore belly, crunchy jicama, creamy avocado, and a drizzle of silky lemon-ginger aioli. The crunch of the crispy won ton against the rich texture of tuna belly turned out to be a spectacular combination, and I only regretted the choice to share it. Next time, I’ll get my own.
For the main dishes, my companion ordered the juicy Colorado lamb burger, which was smothered in creamy, melted brie cheese and an amazing tomato-cranberry jam, lightly scented with warm spices like cinnamon that paired perfectly with the lamb, giving it a Morroccan flair. The dish came with a side of red quinoa with sugar plum tomatoes, feta and lemon vinaigrette, which, if you have to eat healthy stuff like that, then this is the way you should do it.
I ordered the jidori brick chicken, two tender chicken breasts with perfectly seared crispy skin, and served with a white bean ragout, which consisted of blistered tomatoes, slivers of garlic and bright bits of sautéed kale that offset the creaminess of the white beans perfectly. I scooped up a bite of the bean ragout and ate it with a bite of the juicy chicken, and it was a match made in heaven.
We also wanted to try one of the delicious-sounding sides, so we chose the brown bag fries, only because the dipping sauces sounded so intriguing: a sriracha ketchup and a mustard barbecue sauce. But the fries were all short and stubby, making them difficult to dip, and when your nickname in high school was “stretch,” not “nubs,” you can imagine how difficult it’d be to eat ’em! When we mentioned the “shortcomings” to our very nice server, she took them away and brought out a fresh, hot batch, but once we got through the few bigger fries at the top, there were just more stubby fries waiting at the bottom: It was comical. Not only that, but I was looking forward to the youthful exuberance of spicy Sriracha ketchup to dance on my tongue, but instead, I got a mid-life crisis ketchup that barely lit up my taste buds. Uh, more spice please?
Most of the staff working at this trendy hotspot are good-looking HYTs (hot young things), so there’ll be plenty to gawk at while you’re eating your stubby fries. If you go and don’t like the food, which would be difficult, at least you’ll enjoy the atmosphere.
Me? I’ll definitely be returning next semester.